Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Phish in Miami!

I caught two shows... and I have two more concerts left, including New Year's Eve! I've been having a blast seeing one of my favorite bands... and playing as much poker as I can!! Seriously, two of my passions are being lived out right now, and I'm loving every minute of it!! Anyway, if you wanted to read two reviews of the Sunday and Monday Phish shows, just visit my other main weblog... Tao of Pauly.
Poker Room at Hollywood Greyhound Racetrack!

I've played poker all over the world. I'll play anywhere, any time... earlier today I visited Hollywood Greyhound Track. My friend Schanzer went there a few weeks ago when he was in Miami visiting Jerry. I blogged parts of his email.

I arrived just after the room opened at Noon. You enter the dogtrack and go up the escalator to a nice room that looked like it used to be a banquet hall or something. There were twenty tables with outer doors facing the actual dog track. At the time only one game, seven card stud was going. I signed up for $1-2 Omaha and Straight $2 Hold'em. After five minutes a few more gentleman came and we had a game! Let me set the premise here... everyone that I sat down with was at least double my age. I would say that everyone that I played with at my first Straight $2 table was over the age of 65. I had no remorse about the possibility of taking some of their social security money... but hey, they're at the dog track, looking to piss money away, so I figured I stop in and see if I could crack that game. I got to play with old fellows by the name of Slow Jimmy, Harry the Greek, and even a guy named Sol. Almost all of these guys were from the Northeast and retired to Miami. They all played the ponies and I got a few random tips (unsolicited of course). Sol was the craziest.... my man looked like Harvey Keitel at age 82 with a freakin' voice box! Every time he'd yell "Raise!" I'd freak the fuck out! Anyway, the very first hand I got dealt Big Slick suited... A-K diamonds! I didn't raise and just called. I caught an Ace on the flop and won my first hand. I lost a few hands early and I was down $40 for a while before I hit two big hands in a row... I nailed a gutshot straight with Q-10 which paid me off well. I also held A-4 in the small blind, and flopped a set of 4s.

Jerry got out of work early and met me at the dogtrack. When he got there, there was a new $1-2 game opening up, I joined him and I counted my chips after I sat down. I lost about $20 in 3 hours playing Straight $2. This time, I sat next to a nice woman named Linda. She's a widow and an avid golfer. She just picked up the game and we had some nice chats. She rooted for me when I stayed in on hands! Anyway, I made back $20 playing $1-2 and walked away up $3 after 5 1/2 hours of playing. I had a good time. Schanzer described the poker room there as sketchy. I would say that it looked fairly nice. It was smoke free and they had brand new chips. 80% of the players were old white guys from the area. The dealers were not so good. They pushed pots to the wrong person on several occassions and some of them never really had control of the table... which they should have. Anyway, Jerry and I had a good time hitting our second poker room in our third session! I won a few good hands against a frat boy from FSU. I held A-J suited. I flopped the straight and just smooth called. On the turn I raised and the frat boy (wearing sunglasses at a freakin' $1-2 game raised me. I re-raised and we went back and forth until the betting was capped. On the river the same thing happened... the bettin ggot capped. I began to think that he probbaly had an Ace high straight as well and I expected to chop up the pot. To my surprise he turned over a K-Q suited. He had top two pair and was betting into me with that! He walked right into a straight and never saw it coming. That win was big for me after I lost a couple of hands to a small flush on the river and when my A-K didn't hold up and lost to a pair of 3s.

For the Miami trip, I am down $32... after three (four if you count the time we went twice in one day) different sessions.

Monday, December 29, 2003

More Poker!

I'm heading out to Hollywood (Florida) and to the dog track to play poker in their card room! What would a trip to Miami be without a visit to the dog track to gamble on some greyhounds followed up by a mini session of Texas hold'em?

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Bad Beats in Miccosukee?

We were playing "Straight 2" hold'em. $2 bets all the time. Pauly had A-A. You know where this is going. One guy raised before the action came my way. I called. I raised on the flop when another 7-2-2 hit. The guy is betting and I'm raising. On the turn he catches a King. He bets I raise... he Re-raises! I re-raise and we go back and forth until he caps it. On the river... el rio grande... another K. He checks, I raise, he re-raises, I re-raise... we go until it's capped. He turns over a K-3. Ouch. I was pissed. After the hand he got up and disappeared for three consecutive hands. When he returned he picked up his chips and left. I was irked because I didn't get a chance to get my money back.

Three different times I flopped a set with my high pocket pairs... Q, J, 10... and lost to a straight and/or a flush on the river. The problem with these low limit games is that anyone will stay in to catch a card with one out! Alas, I lost a lot of hands I should have won pre-flop and during the flop.
Miami Sessions

Anyway, so far I am down $35 after playing poker for three total sessions. 90% of the players are Hispanic and everyone is speaking Spanish at the tables. Jerry is doing a lot better than me... he's up $15. We took Shappy for two sessions and he's quickly picking up the game. He did very well for a first timer. At breakfast yesterday, I gave Sarah the lowdown on a crash course for Hold'em. She's a good seven card stud player, but never played hold'em. I told her about Phil Hellmuth's Top 10 Hands: Pocket 7s above and A-K and A-Q. She did great! Her first hand on the button she held 8-8 and won the hand. She had pocket Queens once and when a Queen flopped she raised and bet strong the rest of the hand for another win. She won $5 during her one session.

Respecting Sarah

At one point, I had pocket Aces (A-A). I was raising whenever I could especially when another ace fell on the flop. Sarah kept calling me and when I saw a third heart hit the board, I though I might be in trouble. I raised anyway and Sarah called me. She turned over her hand to show a medium flush. It was good enough to win, and I was wicked pissed. That was the second time my pocket aces did not hold up yesterday, and I grew disgusted with yet another bad beat (there must have been almost a dozen yesterday... it was insane, the shit poeple were catching on the river to beat me.) Anyway, in disgust, I threw y cards down at the table, and at that point everyone knew I lost on A-A. It wasn't upset with Sarah, after all... I tutored her on how to play. It was the cards that I was irked at... but a few hours later, I'm happy she played extremely well. They're hooked and she wanted to keep playing. Finally, she achieved a positive table image... when she raised the pot, guys were folding... out of respect because she had been playing great hands all night and winning sizable pots with them.

Random Notes... On Saturday morning we had lunch and then Jerry, Shappy and I headed to the casino to play for a couple of hours. We took a break, went bowling nearby (Jerry bowled a 208! My best was 154) then returned to the casino after 8pm where we met up with Sarah. Luckily, we all got on the same table (they just opened up a new game). We sat there for almost the entire night, and if everyone wasn't starving, we might have stayed until sun up! A kid at our table got four aces (two fell on the flop, the third on the river) and he won $50. There is a Royal Straight Flush Jackpot = $13,000!! Nice... I won some big hands on A-J suited and A-K suited... after I caught nut flushes by the turn. I love raising on the flop when I have 1 card to come for a nut flush draw. I had a slew of bad beats. I lost on a full house 7s over 5s to a guy from Argentina who had four fives. He also beat me with a 6 high straight after I flopped the Wheel. He had no clue what he had when he turned over his cards. The dealer had to tell him that he won the pot... despite the fact he kept calling my raises all the way down to the river. The dealers were better and friendly. Some of the players were geuniley very nice. I liked the table we played on last. I won a big pot when I held 3-3 and raided pre-flop. I raised on the flop when face cards hit. By the turn there was three spades out there (I had the three of spades) I raised again, hoping to catch that 3 or a spade... since no one was betting heavy, I thought no one had a flush. Anyway, when a fourth spade hit, I figured... what the fuck. I'm going for it. I check raised a guy who wa spissed when I turne dover my pocket 3s for a shitty flush. I was slighty embarassed and tipped the dealer $2.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Pauly in Miami!

Quick update: up $45!

I arrived late last night and headed to meet up with some friends from college... including Jerry and his wife Sarah. Around Midnight, we hit the casino! Miccosukee Casino is run bt the local Miccosukee Indians, which was located just thirty minutes west of Miami in the middle of the Florida Everglades. It was a quick ride and there are two different poker rooms there. The bigger one was packed. Only Stud, Omaha, and $1-2 Hold'em was going on. There was a two hour long wait, so Jerry took me over to teh otehr side of teh casino to the smaller poker room... not so much a room, as it was six tables behind some slot machines. All hold'em games... and we were seated right away, next to each other. The blinds are $1 and fifty cents... and the betting is the usual $1-2 format. Everyone there was a local. I realized after the first half hour, I was down $35! I was pissed at myself. I mean, it's freakin the lowest limit I ever played and I was getting housed. This is what happened... early on I didn't play any hands. However, I saw people winning with shitty hands. So I loosened up a bit. I ended up getting two solid hands... top two pair both times. I lost to a three of a kind (caught on the river by a middle aged women who clutched her pocketbook like it was a sick baby) and to a straight (that I misread on the baord... that was my mistake). I was dejected and not happy, with my play especially since I got schooled at Foxwoods, just afew days earlier. I decided to get back to the basics and only play strong hands.

Jerry was doing well early on. He won a couple of pots on full houses. He had won pots with J-J and Q-Q. I finally won my first hand when I had Kc-9c. I was on the button! The flop had two clubs including the Ace. I raised on the flop and caught my nut flush on the turn. I kept re-raising and two people insisted on seeing the river. I continued my raising barrage and won a hefty pot with my nut flush. Two hands later, I caught and inside straight with a J-9. I was in the late position, so I decided to limp in with that hand. I realized a valuable lesson last night... position is as important as starting hands. I never got any power hands. My best starting hand were pocket 6! Yet I won several pots... mostly staying in on medium hands in late position. Anyway, I hit another straight and feeling good. The biggest pot of the night I won was when I was the little blind with a Q-6o. I limped in and caught a Queen on the flop. I checked and someone bet and raise. I called. I caugth another Queen on the turn. Time to raise like a mad man! Thre epeopel stayed in until the river. Again, I kept raising and two people called and were staying in with shit... like a medium pair. Oh well. I took a nice pot and we decided to leave, since we would be returning later today.

I noticed that $1-2 was not as low limit as I thought it would be. 50% of the time there was a pre-flop raise. And only once did I see soemone with A-K or A-A who raised. Folks were raising on medium pocket pairs and a slew of face cards. Since we're in southern Florida, mostly everyone spoke Spanish. All the dealers, the players, the casino workers. The dealer were decent, but slow. Several times I had called out the best hand for the table, because they were taking too long.

Anyway, more to come for sure. I really enjoyed my quick trip to Miccosuke!

Friday, December 26, 2003

Miami Bound... Jerry, Poker, and the Phish!

I am heading off to Miami for a week to ten days. It's so cold here in NYC, so I'm pumped to have some moderate weather. I am visiting my good friend from college, Jerry and his lovely wife Sarah. I am also going to Miami to see four Phish concerts... including a kick ass New Year's Eve show. I frequent Phish's NYE concerts... always a great time. Should be fun... several different groups of friends will be heading down to Miami, so I'll be able to meet up with a lot of people I had not seen in several years.

Of course, when I booked this trip, I had no idea that there were poker rooms in South Florida. When Jerry told me about a casino on an Indian Reservation just thirty minutes from his house... I got even more excited!! Now I can squeeze a couple of hold'em sessions in during my trip. In fact, as soon as I land, I'm driving to Jerry's house and we're going to go to the casino right away!!! Earlier this year, Jerry's wife Sarah hit a straight flush at a seven card stud game... and she won a free dinner for two and a free hotel room for one night! I hope she brings us good luck!

I've been playing poker in card rooms and casinos all over America this year, and I'm eager to add another place to the long list of places I have played... in addition to picking up another poker chip for my collection. Yes, everytime I play in a new casino, I pocket a $1 chip. I have a lot of them.

I dunno if I will have internet access when I am away... if I get to a computer, rest assured that I will be blogging about my casino trips. Stay tuned. If I don't blog anymore.... Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to everyone!!

Check out the latest issue of my literary blogzine: Truckin'. This month's issue features a novel excerpt from one of our fellow poker bloggers... HDouble. His story is called: The Escape Artist. Check it out. I also wrote something under my pen name Tenzin McGrupp called: Excess Skin... a Subway Story. And don't forget to read a great review of one of my latest novels: The Blind Kangaroo!

If you don't know... Truckin' is a monthly blogzine where I publish my travel stories, short stroies, and almost anything else. Take a peek. You won't be disappointed!

Here's a great review of the novel I wrote in early November... The Blind Kangaroo is the third of four novels that I have written.

A Novel Review: The Blind Kangaroo
By Jessica E. Lapidus

Tenzin McGrupp's third novel, The Blind Kangaroo, is by far, his most profound work to date. In an email written to friend Jerry Engel, McGrupp says,

"I think (The Blind Kangaroo) is my most mature novel yet. I have tried to shy away from some of the outlandish sexual connotations and explicit drug use of the first two novels..."

Indeed, McGrupp's first two novels, Jack Tripper Stole My Dog, and Sweet Nothing, revolve around over-the-top sex scenes and heavy drug use. The Blind Kangaroo breaks away from that formula. For the first time in Tenzin McGrupp's novel-writing career, he concentrates on strong character development. Not to say that the characters from his other novels aren't strong, but those from The Blind Kangaroo are the most diverse.

The Blind Kangaroo tells the story of a week in the life of "The Norwegian Nightmare," Orsino Fletcher, a 30-year old, former college and Olympic hockey player. In this week, Orsino, known to all simply as Fletch, learns about life from a bathroom book about Buddha, realizes his own purpose, and learns how to let go. He spends time with his girlfriend, Ophelia, and comments on society and its morals (or lack thereof) via his fellow Catholic high school alumni and a through visit to Hollywood, full of realization and revelation.

Others of McGrupp's critics have mentioned that the women in his stories are "either pregnant, crazy, or both." In The Blind Kangaroo, his main female characters - Cordelia, Juliet, and Ophelia - are all different, and each complex in her own way. Ophelia is Fletch's younger girlfriend. It is clear from the beginning that they have deep feelings for each other, but both are too guarded to express them. The underlying tension that comes through in their dialogue and other relations is apparent through the telling of Fletch's story. Ophelia's friends, Cordelia and Juliet, are perfect compliments to her and each other, and the three make a charming triumverate of feminine wiles and female intelligence. In one scene, where Fletch is driving to Foxwoods with two of the three girls, he and the bull-headed Cordelia get into an argument, and Cordelia holds her own. In McGrupp's previous novels, the female characters were so constructed that they might have backed down when confronted by the verbal strength of men the likes of Ivan in JTSMD and Winky in Sweet Nothing. But as I smiled with glee at the barrage of insults flying between Fletch and Cordelia, I realized that in Fletch's world, he would have had no idea how to handle Kelly and Baby from the aforementioned works. Cordelia, Juliet, and Ophelia, in the ways in which they interact with Fletch - and with each other - are perfectly tailored to the setting and mindset of The Blind Kangaroo.

In McGrupp's other works, short stories and novels alike, he always seems to be striving for a grand symbolism to be represented by locale - the seedy underbelly of New York City in Jack Tripper Stole My Dog and the white trash life in both Seattle and Alabama in Sweet Nothing - or by characterization. The Blind Kangaroo is not lacking this symbolism, but it seems to be a lot effortlessly illustrated, and much more subtle. In the story, Fletch is struggling with his history as an Olympic hockey player, the fame of which seems to be a haunting burden to him, while for others, it is a mark of local and national pride. Fletch hides from it, while every other character in the story, it seems, is striving for his or her own recognition. Ophelia is a struggling actress, many of his fellow high school alumni have made or are trying to make names for themselves in the world, and even the people Fletch meets on his trip to Hollywood seem to be searching for themselves, for their place in the world - or at least at their parties.

Aside from the complexites of McGrupp's female characters, the other players in The Blind Kangaroo are also exciting and different. While some of his fans may argue that the locations and the characterizations are semi-autobiographical, McGrupp admits that his characters are each an amalgam of people he has known and met in his life. Most of the characters get the time they deserve, and when we've seen the last of them (in this volume, at least), the timing of their departure is perfect. The one character who doesn't seem to linger long enough is Adriana, the personal assistant to Ophelia's Hollywood-producer father, Duncan. Adriana is the most developed character with the least face time. She appears only in the last two chapters of The Blind Kangaroo and while the story covers it's points in its seven, full, comprehensive chapters, Adriana's presence makes the case for the continuation. I recently spoke with McGrupp, and he tells me that there is a chance that we will see Adriana again, perhaps in a story of her own.

Another character who makes a far too short appearance is Imogen, the Icelandic flight attendant who Fletch meets while living in Denmark. The story of the relationship between Fletch and Imogen takes place in the past, and the way McGrupp tells the story is with love and passion. The telling of the tale of their love affair seems a moment of calm in the whirlwind of Orsino Fletcher's life. Their story and its aftermath barely lasts a whole chapter, and leaves the reader wanting more from Imogen and the passionate affect she has had on our hero.

The final two chapters are set in Hollywood, where Fletch puts into practice the things he has learned from reading the bathroom book about Buddha. He speaks honestly and candidly with Duncan, Ophelia's father, and also with Ophelia, to whom he finally opens his heart. The major concept of Buddha's teachings is to let go of all attachments, and that is exactly what Fletch is able to do by the time we get to the end of the week. He goes from being hung-up and obsessed with his fame, to being free of its implied burdens, and getting down to what is important in his life: respect and love. And keeping with the theme of strong women, the one who seals his realization is Ophelia, who points out,

"...as much as everyone is focused on the Norwegian Nightmare, you always took the time to tell me how lucky you were to be wherever, with the most beautiful woman in the room."

Her statement speaks of the message in The Blind Kangaroo, which is appreciation for the things around you - from generously tipping a waitress to playing in the fall leaves in New York's Central Park - and having less attachment to the things in your life by which you have felt burdened, but that you know will fade just as the moments.

All in all, The Blind Kangaroo is, by far, Tenzin McGrupp's mature, real-life novel. It is not only about fame and celebrity, and the struggles therein, but also about relationships with others and with the self, and learning about life through life.

Jessica E. Lapidus is a writer from Jersey City. She is also the assistant editor of Truckin'.

Copyright, 2003

Thursday, December 25, 2003

WPT Marathon

The World Poker Tour Marathon will be aired on the Travel Channel starting at 9am EST and running past Midnight. Set those VCRS! I checked out the schedule. It looks like there will be some repeats. I think this is the tenative schedule...

9am: Paris
11am: San Francisco
1pm: Foxwoods (2002 World Poker Finals)
3pm: Mississippi
5pm: Bellagio
7pm: San Francisco
9pm: Foxwoods
11pm: Mississippi
1am: Bellagio

Of course I'm leaving for Miami around 3pm so I'll only catch a few hours, which is good enough for me!!
Pilot Did Not Show: Feds Believe Some on Canceled Flight Intended to Attack Las Vegas

Right off of the Drudge Report... "Some passengers boarding Air France flight from Paris to Los Angeles 'intended to hijack it and crash land in Las Vegas', the WASHINGTON POST is planning to report in Page One leads on Friday, sources tell DRUDGE... officials said they 'remain suspicious about some passengers who did not show up at the airport to claim their seats on the ultimately aborted Flight 68 from Paris to Los Angeles. One of those who did not appear for the Christmas Eve flight apparently is a trained pilot'... Developing... "

Here is the related article... France Cancels Paris-LA Flights Over Qaeda Threat.
Christmas Gifts!

My brother bought me a cool book for Christmas... Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker written by James McManus. He also got me a live Phish CD (Denver 11.17.97) and a great Grateful Dead DVD... The Closing of Winterland Ballroom. Those are some of the best gifts I got this year!

I got him Saving Silverman on DVD and the book, Playing Poker Like the Pros, written by the youngest World Series of Poker champion and the guy everyone loves to hate... Phil Hellmuth.
The Fat Guy

I finally had the chance to read The Fat Guy. Some great stuff.

There are so many quality poker bloggers out there... it's getting tough to keep up. I need to hire an intern to read all the poker blogs out there and submit a daily summary report of all my fellow poker bloggers bad beats, big wins, and odd gamblings stories.
Auggie Wren's Christmas Story

Last year I blogged Auggie Wren's Christmas Story written by Brooklyn writer Paul Auster. Check it out... the perfect reading for Christmas, and one of my favorite short stories... of all time.

Here's a bit: "I heard this story from Auggie Wren. Since Auggie doesn't come off too well in it, at least not as well as he'd like to, he's asked me not to use his real name. Other than that, the whole business about the lost wallet and the blind woman and the Christmas dinner is just as he told it to me..."
Trip Archives

I added a new feature to the left side of the Tao of Poker... called Recent Trips, which are quick links to blogs about specific trips to casinos this past year.

Here they are... Recent Trips:
Foxwoods 12.23.03
Vegas 12.16.03
Vegas 12.15.03
Vegas 12.14.03
Vegas 12.13.03
Foxwoods 12.3.03
Foxwoods 11.16.03
Foxwoods 9.16.03
Foxwoods 8.20.03
Foxwoods 6.2.03
Vegas 4.30.03
AC 4.14.03
Vegas 3.31.03

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

New Issue of Card Player Magazine...

The new issue of Card Player Magazine is out in card rooms, and posted up on the web. Here are a couple of good articles that I just read.

1. Volume Hands: Small Pairs and Small Suited Connectors is written by Roy Cooke. Here's a bit: "Small pairs (sixes and smaller) and small suited connectors (smaller than 10-9) generally play best when there are opponents available to give you action after you make your hand. When drawing slim or dead, your opponents will contribute big edge to you after you make your hand. Opponents putting in bets against your hand when drawing slim or dead has much more value to you than opponents putting in bets when drawing to a hand that is live and likely to come. If your opponent is correct in drawing due to the price the pot is laying his draw, over the course of time you will be better off if he folds rather than draws. These volume hands, played in correct situations, can create a lot of positive expectation..."

2. Mr. Move All In is written by Phil Hellmuth. Here's a bit: "I'll tell you the truth, right here and right now: I'm not sleeping well these days. I keep having nightmares about a guy who raised me or reraised me 14 times on the second day of the championship event of the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods, and won them all. What happened to the "three strikes, you're out" rule? Of course, I continued to smoothly run my stack up to $840,000 and second place in chips, and knew that I would get my opponent soon for a big number. Hoyt Corkins was acting out the role of "Mr. Move All In" during this tournament, and he was doing it rather well."

3. Movie Review: The Big Blind is written by Lou Krieger. Here's a bit: "When a million-dollar movie is financed by the writer-director's poker winnings, when he writes the script between hands at the poker table, when he bets everything he has to make an independent film, you know two things for sure: The poker scenes in David James' The Big Blind will be realistic and authentic, and the surrounding poker community will be realistically depicted... The Big Blind is a realistic series of stories about lives centered on poker and the struggles that ensue around it. It's a comedy, to be sure, as well as an almost anthropological overview of poker players and a sociological look at the milieu in which they abide. It is also a film about struggle, hope, perseverance, survival, love, and redemption. And although much of it is dark, it is always humorous, and ultimately an optimistic series of stories about love, tenacity, and the triumph of the human spirit."

4. Florida Raises Poker Stakes (A Little) is written by I. Nelson Rose. Here's a sample: "It is difficult to get a state to legalize a new form of gambling. But it is nearly impossible to get the stakes raised once the cards have been dealt. Florida is the latest example of this political rule. Racetracks in Florida, like racetracks everywhere, have been searching for years for a way to bring in more gambling dollars. Consistently denied the right to operate slot machines and video lottery terminals, the tracks turned to card games."
Aces Up for TV Poker

It's Aces Up for Poker on TV Screens is an article written by Michael Booth and appears in the Denver Post. Here's a bit: "Offering perhaps the most definitive proof yet that Americans would rather watch somebody else do something on TV than do it themselves, televised poker is on a hot streak. At least four networks have anted up in the latest sports craze that's not really a sport, following in the grand tradition of televised Scrabble, bass fishing and golf."
Foxwoods... My Second Home?

I guess you can call Foxwoods my local card playing hangout (despite the fact it is a good 2 plus hour drive from NYC). I've played there more than any other place this past year. Here's an interesting article about Foxwoods... Connecticut Man Accused Of Falsely Reporting Bomb Threat.


Anisotropy is a new poker blog run by Sean from South Jersey. Check him out...
If your dog was still alive, I'd shoot the fucker!

I am back from a run to Foxwoods where I met up with Jay and Senor! It was great to see the two and I never played cards with both of them at the same session. Jay had been playing a bevy of "sit and gos" online at Poker Stars and had been doing very well. My brother had to work, so he could not make the trip. I asked Haley if she wanted to go (she's still reluctant to play hold'em in a real casino... we still have a few more lessons to go) but she had an audition, which she said went very well.

I got up early, and it was still dark outside. I jumped out of bed when my alarm went off because I knew I was going to play poker! I dressed quickly and hopped on the subway to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Everyone on the crowded subway was going to work and I was excited because I was going to play cards with Senor!! When I got to the bus depot, I forgot about two things: Christmas time and the Orange Alert. The depot was swarmed with holiday travelers with huge bags and plenty of presents. There was heavy security all over the place... not just cops, but those bad ass dudes wearing full combat armor and toting heavy machine guns with sneering bomb sniffing dogs. Normally I rent a car when I go to Foxwoods (I live in NYC and don't own a car...) but rental cars are ridiculously expensive this week, and with only a few left because it's Christmas week. It was a Greyhound bus for me at $28... a 2 plus hour drive slowed down to a 3 and a half hour excursion on the bus.

I got stuck sitting next to a overly chatty Canadian fellow with a mullet, a greasy NASCAR hat, a couple of earings and a ripped t-shirt. He had not shaven in three weeks and was headed to New Haven, the only stop along the way to Foxwoods. All he talked about was NASCAR, WWE, and horror movies. He was not a smart man. I do not mean to offend anyone, especially Canadians, NASCAR, and WWE fans... but the reason I say he was a dumb ass was because he told me he was going to visit his girlfriend and intended to propose to her Christmas Eve... and he left the ring in his luggage, which was tucked away somewhere in the belly of the packed Greyhound. Oh and he packed his cellphone and almost all of his cash in there too. Now, I know what you are thinking... "what a dumb ass!" Oh yeah. I'd traveled all around the world... on buses, trains, and planes... and I never once got stuck sitting next to the sultry, witty, nymphomanic, well read daughter of a real estate tycoon, with a penchant for wise-cracking, self-absorbed, pothead writers... who was also dying to learn how to play Texas hold'em. Nope, no fucking way. I got to sit next to the yapping Canuck. I should have rented a car. Actually it wasn't that bad. After we tired of the NASCAR and WWE stuff and I exhausted my limited knowledge on both subjects... we attempted a real conversation. We discussed Canadian healthcare... (I'm serious) and the advantages and perks of socialized healthcare. He gave me a few tips on how to give better oral sex on women without getting too many pubic hairs in your mouth (I wish I was making this stuff up...) and he swiftly nudged me in the ribs with his elbow and winked when he blurted out, "But I don't mind the shaved ones too... nothing like finger licking good."

I paid $28 for that early morning amusement. I could not create a more insane character in any of my novels. This guy was a walking trilogy. He showed me a huge scar on his neck, and told me he had part of his pelvis inserted in his neck that now acted as his vertebrae. He gave me tips on how to drive in the snow... "because in Canada, there's so fucking much of it, eh!"

Within an hour and a half hour in our trip, he spilled the beans to me on his entire life. The guy was not even thirty years old and from the stories he told me in that short time span... I gathered that he had enough eclectic material for at least three novels, a documentary film, a reality TV series, and all this coming from a guy who looked like he was at the bad end of a bar brawl. He told me everything. He practically told me his fucking pin number and where his grandma stashed her pension money (in her slippers in her closet). He confided in me that he had been detained at the border a month earlier because of a sexual assult charge (which was dismissed) had gotten him flagged at immigration, and we wouldn't let him into the country. I was so relieved when he got off at New Haven. All I could think about was... there's one lucky woman out there who gets to brag to her friends that she's getting married to a wonderful guy!

OK, there is some poker content in this blog. I'm sorry we got side tracked. There's always something strange going on when I head over to Foxwoods. I got there just before noon and called Senor, who was just getting off on I-95 and was about fifteen minutes away. Security searched his car and his trunk when he drove into the parking deck. Even Foxwoods was clamping down on security. So two of the last three times I was at Foxwoods, I saw Ben Affleck and Chris Moneymaker (and you can kinda count the time I saw Kato Kaelin playing $4-8... but he's like a C-list celebrity). You can judge the sucess of the poker celebrities by the limits they play... Affleck was sitting in on a high stakes pot limit game... just like Moneymaker, and poor Kato... was slugging it out on $4-8. I think he had too much pride to play $2-4. OK, I went off on another tangent there... back to the reason for this blog... the title is very important... If your dog was still alive, I'd shoot the fucker! as you will soon find out.

I got seated at a $4-8 hold'em table with Senor. I was awaiting my $2-4 game which was a good hour away. Foxwoods was crowded and they opened up a new table and game for us. I was the Big Blind right away and ended up playing my first two hands. I never like to play right away, but I had a great big blind: A-10o. I caught an Ace on the river, but bailed on the turn when a fourth spade hit. The next had, on the button, I called with K-Q suited. I bailed when an Ace hit the flop and two raises were in front of me. I was down a few bucks and I did not even take off my jacket. The blinds came around quick. Senor commented that $4-8 games seem to be much quicker than $2-4 games... more people folding and less callers at the end speeds it up. Anyway, in the big blind I catch the routine 5-9o. The flop: J-J-5. Interesting. I check so do five others. Senor is one of the last to act. He bets. I call, so do four others. On the turn: J. The table checks to Senor and he bets $8. Since no one else bet, I made them for hands like K or A high. I guessed that Senor was just betting because he had position on everyone, but I kinda thought he had an Ace and nothing more. I had a full house, but was it good enough? Where there any medium pocket pairs out there? I call and everyone folds. A 9 fell on the river, giving me a slightly higher full house. I check and Senor bets $8. I could have raised him, but I didn't... knowing that I had him beat was better than taking his money. I called and he was shocked that I had a full house. He has A-Q suited, a good hand, but not the winning hand. That was pretty much the only hand I won at the $4-8 table. When my name was called for my $2-4 game, I was down $30 in less than a hour. It was all downhill from there.

I sat down and recognized two regulars right away. I was in Seat 7 and the guy in Seat 2 was someone I played in a few tournaments against. Let's call him "Tom" from Vermont. Tom from Vermont is an unusual fellow. He wore a picture of his dead dog around his neck. I played against him in the Act Two satellite during the summer. He was at my table when I had K-K and went all-in pre-flop against a guy with pocket Aces. Yikes. Later that night, he was moved to my table in the weekly No Limit Tuesday tournament. I knocked him out when he was short stacked. He was a really nice guy and we talked on and off during that day at different times. He told me that his dog died sometime ago, and from heaven, he watches over him during trips to the casino.

Anyway, as soon as I sit down Tom from Vermont was happy to see me. "Haven't seen you in a while," he added. I looked at his chips. He had the biggest stack at the table, over $200 in $2 chips. The old guys at my end were funny guys, with healthy attitudes. They had lost a lot of their money to Tom from Vermont. Right away I saw that he was getting crazy hands. I lost to him when I flopped a straight with my A-J and he caught a little flush on the river when four diamonds hit the board. His diamond? The fucking 2! Unreal. I lost another big hand when I got dealt pocket 10s on the button. When I see that all I can think is "Raise!" Nine players were in and they all called after I raised. I nice size pot before the flop is something I love to see when I have position. The flop: 10-7-3 rainbow. A couple of checks on bet, then I raise. Half the field dropped. The rest called. The turn: 2. One bet to me and I raised to $8. Only two called including Tom from Vermont. The river: 8. One bet, I raised, Tom re-raised. We all called and my flopped triple 10s were no match for Tom's gutshot straight when he pulled up with a 9-6o. Unfucking real. I didn't think Tom from Vermont was such a nice guy anymore. That was two in a row that I should have won. I didn't fret. But I looked down and more than $100 of my stack was eaten away since I arrived. Not there for ninety minutes and I lost half my buy-in. Not good. I never should have left my $4-8 game. I thought that if I moved to a lower limit, I could play longer and just wait until the No Limit tournament started at 7pm. Alas, I was wrong. I got my ass handed to me at $2-4.

OK, I was getting good cards, but horrible flops. I played very tight and only won one pot in two hours at the $2-4 table... and it was a small pot with pocket Kings. All my good hands got cracked. I lost a flopped nut flush to a full house (caught on the river by some kid who showed up wearing sunglasses). When he sat down, one of the old guys joked under his breath to my end of the table... "Looks like someone had been watching the WPT on the Travel Channel." We all laughed and thought the same thing: "DEAD MONEY!" But the kid with the shades took me for a big pot. I hope I don't stumble upon some random college kid's new poker blog and read about him bragging about winning a huge hand after he stayed in on a 3-7o and won a huge pot at Foxwoods. If I do, I'll go find him, piss on his laptop, and break his sunglasses.

Then it got really ugly. I've had some bad beats before, but I walked into one hell of a trap. I had about $80 in chips after I lost a shitty pot when I held A-K suited and lost to an old lady caught a pair of 3s on the river to beat me. Anyway, I see A-A on the button. Tom from Vermont raised pre-flop. I noticed he raised on pocket 6,7,8 and A-J twice. He slow played his pocket Aces the one time I saw him have them. I made him for a medium pair. I re-raised. Eight called. The flop: J-A-J. Did Pauly just flop a full house Aces over Jacks? Yes. What to do? One bet before Tom, he raised, and I re-riased. The kid with the shades called and Tom re-raised. I re-raised and capped it out The kid still called and hung in there. For a second I thought: Someome has a Jack... but do they have pocket Jacks? I put the kid for a Jack and a small kicker. And I pegged Tom from Vermont with a medium pair or A-J and a smaller full house than mine. Rags fell on the turn and the river, the same routine repeats: Tom bets $4, kid calls $4, I raise to $8, Tom re-raises to $12, kid calls, I re-raise to $16 to cap it out. Everyone calls and the kid turns over A-3 suited. I expected to see an A-J from Tom from Vermont, but his dead pooch was smiling down on him from dog heaven because he turned over pocket Jacks!! J-J stared me in the fucking face. I lost the rest of my stack in a $200 plus pot. The kid had no idea what happened, but I was wicked pissed and turned over my pocket aces for the table and dealer to feel my pain. The "oohs" and "aaaahs" filled the mouths of the players. Even the dealer was shaking his head. Too bad there was not a Bad Beat Jackpot like other casinos had... because I would have won that after 4 Jacks beat out my Aces full over Jacks. Fuckin' guy with the dead dog had over $350 in chips, most of that my money. I had two $2 chips left. In less than three hours I lost $196. I spent a week in Vegas and only dropped around $90. Wanting to cap out my losses at $200, I had to walk away. I was not able to play in the Tuesday night No Limit tourney. Instead, I decided to take an early bus back to the city.

As I got up from my seat to ponder what the fuck happened, I let my disgust be known to the table. My comment was greeted by a thunderous roar of laughter. Even the floor manager who stood nearby heard me. I jokingly said, "If your dog was still alive, I'd shoot the fucker!"

Monday, December 22, 2003


I just got off the phone with Senor. His brother is in town for the holidays and they want to play some cards on Tuesday... so I'm going to Foxwoods tomorrow!! There is a No Limit tournament at 7pm. If I stay that long, then I will play. But I'm just taking the bus up there, so it's not going to be a long session. More to come.

Orange Alert!

That means there is extra security around here in NYC... I have mixed emotions. Do I feel safer? No. Do I feel more like a prisoner in my own city? Yes. Oh well, time to hit Partypoker.com... 100% al-Qaeda free poker, 24 hours a day!

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Send Me Your Pics!

Attention all poker bloggers! Send me a picture so I can complete my latest project: Poker Bloggers Fotolog. So far, we have myself, HDouble and Felicia.
WPT on Travel Channel

I helped my brother move into his new apartment yesterday and he gets the Travel Channel, so now I can finally watch the WPT! Anyway, the new season starts next month, so I have been watching reapeats from this past year. Yesterday, they aired a Partypoker.com Limit tourney ($5.500 buy-in) on a cruise ship. Howard Lederer beat out Chip Jett to take away a cool $250K. A couple of internet qualifiers made the final table including an old guy called "Cowboy" and an old English lady named "Mo". Gotta love the WPT. Where else can a gambling cowboy and an English woman go heads up with some of the best players in the world...and make them sweat!

Anyway, on Friday December 26, the Travel Channel will be airing a marathon of this past season's World Poker Tour starting at 9am EST. Check it out if you can. I'm leaving for Miami that night, but I hope to catch some old espisodes that I missed.
New Blogs

I've been adding new blogs to the links section. I finally have the time to read up on my fellow poker playing bloggers. Some good stuff out there!! Here are two that I just added: Mean Gene and Poker Odyssey. Check them out!

Saturday, December 20, 2003

The Cooler

There is a great indie film called The Cooler that my friends have been telling me to see. My art friends are raving about the odd sex scene and my gambling friends want me to see it because it's all about gambing and... Las Vegas!

Here's a review called: 'The Cooler' shines as a tale of life and luck in old-school Vegas from the Seattle Times.

Here's a bit: "Nearly all of Wayne Kramer's Las Vegas fable "The Cooler" takes place in artificial light; scenes unfold on the cavernous floor of an old-school casino where day and night merge, dimly lit back offices, or musty apartments where curtains are drawn firmly against the light. It's a strange, free-floating world, and it's become a prison for Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy), a "cooler" at the Shangri-La casino who dreams of going somewhere "where there are clocks on the walls."

A cooler, in this movie's old-school Vegas parlance, is someone whose luck is so bad that he can "cool" a table just by standing nearby. And it just takes one look at Bernie to see that he's got rotten luck -- as played by Macy (who, along with Philip Seymour Hoffman, is king of the indie-movie shlub), he's got greasy, flattened-down hair, nastily wrinkled suits, a pronounced limp and a perpetually worried look. "People get next to me, their luck turns," he explains to Natalie (Maria Bello), the pretty cocktail waitress who's inexplicably flirting with him..."

If you would like to watch the trailer or a preview visit this site: The Cooler: Trailers. I just checked it out... and it looks great. I'm going to try to get Haley to go see it this wekeend (but she wants to go see LOTR 3.) Stay tuned for a movie review from me!!
Is it a Crime to Play Online?

Is it a Crime to Play Online? is an article written by I. Nelson Rose.

Here's a bit: "Federal law is clear. The federal government’s interest in gambling is pretty much limited to organized crime. Federal statutes are written with phrases like, "Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering..." or "Whoever conducts, finances, manages, supervises, directs, or owns all or part of an illegal gambling business..."

A regular player cannot get into trouble with the federal government even if the gambling operation is blatantly illegal, unless he does something to help the business. Prosecutors have charged players with being part of the gambling business when they helped operators collect debts from other players. But the very few times the federal Department of Justice has gone after regular players, judges have thrown the cases out."
Tough Loss

HDouble just sent me this in an e-mail: "I got killed in a one hour session today... lost a $250 pot when the board paired on the river and my nut straight went down in flames... so I'm in the middle of a BAD run."

I dunno about you guys, but I cringe when I read about my fellow bloggers bad beats. I feel your pain, HDouble!! Hang in there. Make it up this weekend in the NFL games.

HDouble also sent me this email earlier today... "Anyway, great Vegas blogging. Just read the last entry this morning. Here's my favorite part: 'In middle position, I held 4-7 suited... To think, I almost mucked that shitty opening hand, but because I was on such a run, I played them.'"

Thanks for reading... and that was a sick hand. When you're on a rush, you have to play everything, which I did.

314 Players Contend for $3,070,050 at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio!!

World Poker Tour Events Continue Dramatic Growth; Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio Makes Huge Jump in Players, Prize Money and First Place Payout is an article from Businesswire.com.

Here's a bit: "314 Players Contend for $3,070,050 in the High Stakes WPT Tournament... The Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio in Las Vegas, NV, which is currently in progress, is the latest event on the WORLD POKER TOUR to demonstrate the domino effect of the television show's huge popularity. Tour records have been set in each of the stops and the Five Diamond World Poker Classic is no exception with a huge increase in players, prize money and first place payout over the previous year's tournament.

314 players signed up for this week's event, which will culminate on December 18, 2003 with the filming of the Final Table for broadcast as part of the WORLD POKER TOUR series on The Travel Channel."
Recent Articles

1. New Jersey Bans Mobster from AC Casinos... Here's a bit: "A reputed Genovese family capo was banned from New Jersey casinos Wednesday as a bad influence."

2. Harrah's Trying to Acquire Binion's... Here's a bit: "Harrah's Entertainment is trying to acquire the Binion's Horseshoe name in Nevada, one of the best known and oldest brands in the gambling industry... Becky Binion Behnen, who owns the downtown Las Vegas casino, acknowledged Thursday that her company had been approached by Harrah's.... The casino has been struggling financially, and the Internal Revenue Service placed a $5 million lien on the property last month..."

3. Strip poker: Casino women bare almost all for calendar is an article written by Jack Curran, which I just read in NY Newsday.

Here's a bit: "First, it was the cheeky moniker and skimpy outfits. Now, the Borgata Babes are raising eyebrows for what they're not wearing. The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa's cocktail servers have been turned into pinup girls, starring in a glossy, full-color 2004 calendar that borders on soft porn. In "Babes of Borgata," eight of the casino's employees bare almost all, looking like the losers in a post-work strip poker game at Victoria's Secret..."

Poker Bloggers Photo Project

So far the site is up and I'm slowly adding pics... added HDouble and Felicia. Who's next?

Friday, December 19, 2003

I'm Playing Too Much Poker: Reason #1

I walked into the bodega this morning to buy a newspaper and I took two quarters out of my pocket and splashed them onto the counter, just like poker chips into a pot. I laughed when they hit smack in the middle of the counter and I walked out thinking... "Man, I've been playing too much poker!"
Hide the kids!!! Pauly's on Partypoker!

Yes, it's true. Despite the pleas from Grubby that I should not play online... I finally took the leap. Like a crackhead slowly pulling the crackpipe to his lips... or a sullen alkie unscrewing the top of his bottle of scotch... I pulled up a chair and downloaded Partypoker. When I told Iggy he was pumped!!!

The main reason I joined Partypoker was so I could play with my fellow poker bloggers. I'm not a fan of online play, but I knew that online was the only chance I'll get to play with some of my favorite poker players and bloggers out there, whom are separated by long distances. I think it's cool that I can play at home in NYC with London Froggy in England and even HDouble in LA. Very cool. Poker is bringing us all together and I did not want to miss out on Iggy's brilliant idea to get a blogger table at Partypoker going! I hope we can make this a weekly game or something!!

I played a couple of hands with "free money" to test it out. I had only played on Ultimatebet.com before, so I was not familiar with Partypoker. I like it especially the detailed hand history stuff.

Here's one of the first hands I won...

Dealer: Game #50260397683 starts.
Dealer: algebraist posts small blind [2].
Dealer: nica633 posts big blind [5].
Dealer: dpd_2002 posts big blind [5].
Dealer: ** Dealing down cards **

I got J-9 offsuit

Dealer: PaulyMcGrupp calls [5].
Dealer: vakesOX calls [5].
Dealer: Schlomo4 calls [5].
Dealer: dpd_2002 checks.
Dealer: harley95 folds.
Dealer: AZUMPIRE calls [5].
Dealer: jrocka calls [5].
Dealer: algebraist calls [3].
Dealer: nica633 checks.
Dealer: ** Dealing Flop ** [ Tc, 5d, Qc ]
Dealer: algebraist checks.
Dealer: nica633 checks.
Dealer: PaulyMcGrupp checks.
Dealer: vakesOX checks.
Dealer: Schlomo4 bets [5].
Dealer: dpd_2002 folds.
Dealer: AZUMPIRE calls [5].
Dealer: jrocka calls [5].
Dealer: algebraist folds.
Dealer: nica633 calls [5].
Dealer: PaulyMcGrupp calls [5].
Dealer: vakesOX calls [5].
Dealer: ** Dealing Turn ** [ 8s ]

On the turn I caught the straight!! Time to check raise.

Dealer: nica633 checks.
Dealer: PaulyMcGrupp checks.
Dealer: vakesOX checks.
Dealer: Schlomo4 checks.
Dealer: AZUMPIRE bets [10].
Dealer: jrocka calls [10].
Dealer: nica633 calls [10].
Dealer: PaulyMcGrupp raises [20].
Dealer: vakesOX folds.
Dealer: Schlomo4 folds.
Dealer: AZUMPIRE calls [10].
Dealer: jrocka calls [10].
Dealer: nica633 calls [10].

Dealer: ** Dealing River ** [ Qs ]
Dealer: nica633 checks.
Dealer: PaulyMcGrupp bets [10].
Dealer: AZUMPIRE folds.
Dealer: jrocka calls all-In.
Dealer: russb79ri has joined the table.
Dealer: nica633 calls [14].
Dealer: PaulyMcGrupp calls [4].
Dealer: PaulyMcGrupp shows a straight, eight to queen.
Dealer: jrocka shows two pairs, queens and eights.
Dealer: nica633 doesn't show.

#50260397683: PaulyMcGrupp wins 189 play chips from the main pot with
a straight, eight to queen.

I sent my hand history to Iggy and this is what he sent me: "Nice hand, lol. Love the check raise!"
New Links... to More Poker Bloggers!!

I'm sure there are a hundred out there... but here are a few that I finally got a chance to read. Poker bloggers are some of the most fanatic that I've met.

Here are some new good reads:
Felicia Lee
Poker Penguin
Intrepid Cardplayer
Boy Genius
Mr. Decker

If you are the mind behind any of these blogs... good job! And feelf ree to drop me a line!

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Holiday Gift Guide...

Need presents for your favorite poker player? Visit: Poker Saavy's Gift Guide.

And while you are there read this good article about Celebrity Poker Showdown written from a non-poker player.

Here's a bit: "So if you want to learn how to play Texas hold'em, I think you'd be better off observing professional players go at it. Because watching actors bet pretend money and play to the audience isn't exactly an accurate presentation of real play. But if you want to see celebrities juggle sunglasses, sip Bombay and tonics, and fill dead air with awkward, mumbled improv, then you're in luck: A new game airs each week through January, and Bravo is rerunning the the living hell out of each game."
I'm not just a card player... I'm really an artist

Yeah it's true. Anyway, I am starting a new photo project. I want to compile a gallery of photos of poker bloggers, to post up on fotolog.net. On that site I already have a few galleries. You can check out some of my paintings in addition to a general Tao of Pauly fotolog.

So, calling all poker bloggers! Please send me your favorite picture of yourself so I can add it to a new gallery called: Poker Bloggers.This is a project that I'll be working on for the next few weeks. You can take a peek at the first picture... of yours truly! Stay tuned!!
Poker in Miami!!

My good friend Jon Schanzer was in Miami this weekend on a business trip. He hit the card rooms to play some poker. Here's a bit of an email he sent me:

"Pauly, I was in Miami on Monday, waiting around to go the Eagles-Dolphins game. Jerry suggested that I go to the Hollywood Dog Track, where they just opened some poker tables. I had a ball. First of all, the whole thing was totally sketch. You take an elevator up to the second floor, and walk into an open ballroom-looking place, with about 10 tables. An old man walks up and puts your name on a list - either $1-$2 holdem, or $2 straight. It doesnt take long before you're at a table. The poker players are from every age group. All of them are serious. I was by far the least serious guy there. I did well early, but lost a couple of big hands down the stretch (lost to higher flushes and higher straights - ugh). I'm ready to go back soon."

Very cool. I started playing cards with my fraterinty brothers at Emory University over a decade ago. Schanzer and Jerry used to live with my other poker playing buddy Brad (who I used to play with when we both lived in Seattle in the late 1990s). Anyway, we used to go to their apartment off campus to play cards all the time!! Sometimes there were too many people that they had 2 games going on in their small apartment! The girls who lived next door were hooked. And they played every night with us. That was crazy... some good old times. I'll write up some stories about my early days as a poker player in Atlanta during the early 1990s. Some interesting times for sure.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Four of a Kind at the Luxor... Day 4 Vegas Update

Day 1 (Saturday): + $5 (10 hours)
Day 2 (Sunday): - $50 (8 hours)
Day 3 (Monday): - $99 (12 hours... including the tournament)
Day 4 (Tuesday): +55 (5 hours)
Total (4 days): - $90 in 35 hours

I gambled for 35 hours in Las Vegas and only lost less than $100. I guess I'm happy with that. I know that if I played tighter and walked away a lot sooner when I was up a couple of times... then I would have won money on this trip. Alas, $100 loss is nothing because I had a kick ass time in Vegas with my brother. I really love going there with him to gamble (on black jack or sports betting or for poker... we always have a blast!) and it was cool to see him play. He did very well for a beginner. If I played as tight as he did... I am sure I would have made enough moeny to pay for my expenses.

So what happened on Tuesday?? After we stayed up to play at the Excalibur until 6 am (our $1-3 game was shorthanded... 4 people), we decided to take a mini break to shower and eat breakfast. I took the tram over to the Mandalay Bay to cash in a winning ticket (I bet heavily on Philadelphia against Miami on the Monday Night game and won!) I was going to play in the tournament there, but decided against it at the last minute. We tried to get back on any kind of hold'em table at the Excalibur or at the Luxor, but unfortunately, they did not have any games going on at that time. Two dealers at the Excalibur called in sick, so they were short handed on dealers and only had one game going $2-6, which was full and had a waiting list of at least a dozen names. If I knew I couldn't find a game, I would have registered for the tournament. We walked over to the Luxor and found only one player there (a really, really old guy). Two workers at the poker room said that they’d play with us and the old guy. It was 9am and they thought that if people saw the game going on then they;d sit down to play. The poker room at the Luxor is loacted in a high visible area with a lot of pedestrian traffic walking over from the Excalibur. I played at the table right in front where the room is railed off and sometimes random people would stop and watch the game. A couple of times I turned around and saw a group of rail hangers (some home players or novices too shy to play in a real casino and some just random tourists) checking out our table. That used to bother me and make me nervous, but these days, I'm used to it, so I took it as a sign of interest and respect when random people stopped to watch. I kinda got a rush from that.

OK, the game was short. It was early morning and I forgot to tell you that if you show up first thing in the morning, they have free donuts! Anyway, it would be a matter of time before there were real players in the game. After a half hour of shorthanded play, a couple of people sat down and eventually we had an 8 man game.

After the first hour, I found myself down almost $50. Then I hit an amazing rush of cards... some of the best I got in Vegas. I got pocket Aces twice, once on the button, and another time before the button came around again. I slow played one hand and won, and the other I intended to slow play, but the old guy in front of me raised pre-flop, so I re-raised. My brother held A-K suited and raised on the flop when an Ace fell. One of the guys on my end said, "Wow, your brother is raising you?" I nodded and re-raised. Derek and the old man called. I eventaully chased Derek out by the river, but the old man kept betting. When he called my raise, he was shocked to see my pocket Aces. I was pumped because my big pairs did not hold up at all the day before at the Luxor and at the Excalibur.

I won another big pot on A-K hearts and a hefty win when flopped a flush with K-10 suited. My rush continued with a bevy of medium pairs. I had 9-9 and the flop only had a Jack high. At showdown, I beat a guy with 8-8. The next hand I had 10-10 and flopped 10-2-2. I checked on the river and raised on the turn, only to have everyone fold. When I turned over my cards (I was super proud of my little run) the table all shrugged their shoulders. My stacks of chips were mounting and I stayed in on a few hands I probably shouldn't have.

The Four of a Kind!

In middle position, I held 4-7 suited. Of course I flopped 7-7-7. I checked on the flop and raised when a 4 fell on the turn. I re-raised one guy who bet into me on the river and won a nice size pot. The Luxor gives away a bonus jackpot of $20 to anyone with four of a kind! That was a $70 hand. To think, I almost mucked that shitty opening hand, but because I was on such a run, I played them.

Eventually, I found myself up $125 and my quick rush was over. I slowly lost some of those chips to a few bad beats (a guy caught a straight on the river with two runners!) and a couple of times my A-J and A-Q did not hold up.

Derek did not play very well. He lost on a lot of hands on the river. That was his worst session to date. He lost $75 and ended up down $25 for the trip. I told him that was great since he and Senor nearly dropped $2200 combined wagering on college basketball during our trip in March.

And yeah, I had my best session. It was a quickie. $50 in four hours . Not too shabby. Again I was up $125 in about two plus hours and should have walked away when I had the chance!! I should have walked away when I was up over $100 and doubled up on my initial buy-in. My problem with not winning enough money playing poker is simple... discipline. I play too many hands and don't leave when I should. For example, On two ocacasions, I was up over $125. I buy-in $100 when I play. I love getting a brand new rack of chips. I Always hoped to return to the cashier with two or three racks! Anyway, at two points during the trip, I had over $225 in chips on the table. if I walked away at those peaks, I would be up $250 and yes... instead of down almost $100 this trip, I'd be up $150. However, I would have not played poker for 6 extra hours... something I thought was counter productive since I came all the way to Vegas to play cards and have a great time with my brother.

Ah.... my time in Vegas is over. I do not want to leave. As I am about to depart for the fourth time this year... I leave knowing that I'll be back soon. I'm going to try to win a seat at the 2004 WSoP!!

A Las Vegas Blog
Celebrity Poker Showdown

Jay, Senor's brother sent me this e-mail: "Tell Phil Helmuth I said what's up, even though he's a cocky bastard! Hey, you seen that celebrity poker on Bravo? that's gotta be the lamest poker related shit I've ever seen. I think I'm a worse poker player just for watching a half hour of that crap!"

I agree. But it's still poker, so I watch it anyway.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Day 3 Update...

Day 1 (Saturday): + $5 (10 hours)
Day 2 (Sunday): - $50 (8 hours)
Day 3 (Monday): - $99 (12 hours... including the tournament)
Total (3 days): - $145 in 30 hours

We just finished a session at the Excalibur. Derek took a drunk black guy for all his chips. I was impressed by his tenacity. He won $51 in the last four plus hours. He is now up $52 for the trip.

How did I do? I was up $25 for a while, but finished up $5. For the trip... I'm down $155 playing poker. And I broke even at the Sports Book after Philly beat Miami.

We're thinking about the 10 am tournament at the Mandalay Bay. $30 buy-in... could be interesting. Like my brother said, he thinks that I play better against better players. The Luxor tourney was the best I played in the last five days... despite the fact I only played five hands! I was getting housed on the river all weekend playing low-limit, with a ton of bad beats. My last one almost made me go tilt again. I lost on pocket Kings to a guy who caught a 5 on the river to get the wheel. I kept raising and he kept calling. I was pissed because I thought he was cheating... his girlfriend sat next to him, and I swear I thought they were discussing their hands... especially when I saw the girl pick up her cards on several ocassions to look at them... and I caught him peeking at them. It wasn't cool and I almost got into a fight with the guy. My brother said something to the dealer, and I made sure I clocked them the entire time they played. At one point I said something, in my biggest, boisterous, asshole NEW YORKER TONE... something like, "Are you guys discussing your hands down there?" I made their experience as uncomfortable as possible and tried to get inside their heads, without losing my cool. Well, that jerkoff finally got up and left with his girlfriend after they didn't get to play any hands, because by then, not only was Derek and myself clocking them... so were the dealer and a couple of people sitting on my end. That I clued into their shady table behavior.

Anyway... it's 6am and I've been playing since Noon. Going to rest for a bit, eat breakfast and then reload and hit the Luxor for a couple of hands before I head over to the Mandalay Bay to sign up for the tournament. More to come...

A Las Vegas Blog
I Just Saw Phil Hellmuth!!!

I walked into the Bellagio with my brother. We walked over to the poker room. Just fifty yards in front of the room was a WPT table. And Phil Hellmuth was standing there! I nudged my brother and motioned to Phil. Derek thought he was huge! And yes, Phil is a tall guy. I'm six feet tall, but he must be almost 6'6". We stopped right in front of the poker room and peeked inside. Phil walked right by us. I assume he was going home. I felt compelled to say something.

Pauly: "Yo Phil!"
Phil Hellmuth: "Hey."
Pauly: "I read your book."
Phil Hellmuth: "Great."

And then he walked away. He kinda blew me off, but it was cool to see him and I couldn't wait to blog the news! I saw two World Series of Poker winners in the last month!!! I caught Moneymaker at Foxwoods on Nov. 16th and now Phil!

A Las Vegas Blog
Derek's Straight Flush & Pauly Playing On Tilt...

After the tournament, we tried to get seats at the Excalibur. It was packed with an hour plus wait on both $1-3 and $2-6 tables. We walked back to the Luxor (which is right next door) and got seated at the same $2-4 table right away. I noticed that they had different tables there. At the tourney I sat at an 11 man table. At the $2-4 table, it had only nine seats. I wondered how that affected the odds on the cards?

Anyway, an hour into our game, Derek hit a striaght flush (the wheel). He held A-2 clubs and got a 3 and 4 on the flop. He caught a flush on the turn with a Jack and nailed the straight flush on the river when a 5 fell. He almost missed it and the dealer almost shuffled the cards when I caught his straight flush. The Luxor has a special jackpot for straight flushes and my brother won a $50 bonus!! After 5.5 hours of playing, Derek was up $7. Overall, Derek is up $1 for the trip playing poker. For his third day playing... he's doing very well.

Me? How did I do? Well... shitty. All my good hands got cracked. I lost on K-K, A-A, A-K suited, Q-Q and even J-J all got beaten. It was rough. When I won pots, they were small. When I played hands, I lost to folks catching straights and flushes on the river. I went from making the final table at the noon tourney to playing on tilt in just a couple of hours!!! I lost $120. I am now down $160 for the trip.

We stayed during Monday Night Football. The poker room at the Luxor has this special jackpot during the football game. They give away $1000 in bonuses to the 3 best hands during the game. You must play until the game ends. $500 to the best hand, $300 to the second and $200 to the third. Derek got his straight flush 3 hours too early!

A Las Vegas Blog

Monday, December 15, 2003

Pauly Makes the Final Table at the Luxor...

I came in 7th place and finished in the money!! I made it to the final table at the noon tournament at the Luxor. There were 51 entires ($28 buy-in) and first place paid $309. I won $44.

I only played 5 hands all afternoon. I was done by 1:45 (start time was noon). I got my pocket Kings cracked which sucked. You start with $300 in chips. By the time the final table started, I had $675 and was 9th out of 11 in the chip count.

There were eight of us left. The money was for the top 7. I was close to making it. When it was my blind, the blinds were raised to $400/$800! I lost both hands when the young woman next to me raised both times. I had $2000 in chips before the blinds and after that I was reduced to $800. The next hand, I was on the button and the little blind was shortstacked. I went all in with A-2 suited, one other guy called and beat both of us. We got knocked out at the same time, but I made it to seventh place because I had more chips before the hand started. Oh well.

I finished in second place once at Foxwoods, but I did not win any money. So technically, this was the highest money finish for me to date! Derek came in 25th place in his first tournament appearance. There will be another tournament tonight at the Luxor and another one at the Mirage.

Side notes: The dealers sucked at the Luxor. I was pissed by their incompetence.

I managed to piss off a local when I called his pre-flop raise with K-10 of diamonds. there were three of us in the hand. Nothing fell for me on the flop: Q-7-5. One guy bet and the local raised. I called. On the turn I caught a 10. First guy checked, then the local bet, then I called, the first guy folded. I caught a 10 on the river for triple 10s. The local bet, I raised and he called. He had K-Q off suit and had a pair of Qs with a King kicker. He was wicked pissed at me and made several bad comments about my play. "How could you call that raise with nothing? Keep playing like that and you'll go broke."

When he got knocked out three hands later, the far end of the table offered me their sympathies. I coldly turned to them and said, "Fuck that guy!" They all laughed, even the dealer who was given a hard time for her shady shuffling skills. Anyway, an old guy next to me from texas said, "Son, you earne dthat pot. You called his raises. You paid to see the cards. You earned the pot. Never mind that fellow." It felt good to see and hear my table stick up for me.

A Las Vegas Blog
Luxor Monday Noon Tournament...

I just registered for the limit tourney at the Luxor. We had to get there 3 hours before to make sure we got one of 40 seats. The buy-in was $25. I'm pumped. Derek and I got our seat assignments and we are on different tables. Stay tuned...
Derek's Day 2

I forgot to blog how he did... he won $47! He should have won more id he walked away earlier. But I was proud of his run. He had some good hands and flopped a set three times... and flopped a full house once. He raised on hands instead of calling (like he did on Day 1) and won bigger pots.

He drew the ire of a couple of old guys at the end of the table. Derek raised pre-flop. I called with A-J off suit. Derek raised on the flop and on the turn everyone folded. On the river I checked and he was going to raise me and everyone made fun of him. "Are you going to raise your own brother?" one lady commented. He didn't and he turned over A-J suited. The old guys were irked that he raised with a A-J. Oh well.
Vegas Poker Play... Day 2

Day 2 (Sunday): - $50 (8 hours)
Total (2 days): - $45 in 18 hours

I played for a solid 8 hours. I sat on a $2-6 table for 30 minutes before I moved to a $1-3 seat. On the $2-6 table, I lost $15, most of it on pocket Queens. They did not hold up against someone's two pair. On sunday afternoon, they're weren't as many drunks playing. However, I found myself in a bad rut of cards. When I got strong hands, they got cracked and I lost to folks staying in until the river, and then catching a hand slightly better than mine. My A-K suited lost to a pair of fucking 6s. I was raising every time and the guy caught a six (he held K-6 unsuited) on the friggin' river. It was ugly. I was down $80 by my second hour of playing. Even my pocket Aces couldn't hold up. I wondered if I had to re-buy another rack of chips.

I begun to play semi-loose. On the button and in the late position, I was playing almost everything playable (when theere were no pre-flop raises). I went on a nice run, and within a half hour, I picked up a quick $100 in chips to go up $20. I won a big pot on 5-6 suited. A few hands later I had a 2-4 suited diamonds. The flop was: 3d-5d-Kh. I had an open ended straight flush. I got raised on the flop. I said "fuck it". No matter how much it was going to cost me, I was going to try to pull my first staright flush ever by the river. Another K fell on the turn. I made the raiser for triple Kings. I called, and I pulled a Jack (diamonds) on the river. It wasn't pretty and I got a few frowns from the locals, but I didn't care. I won a big pot against a truck driver from Tacoma (earlier he got a straight flush and only won a hat!), whom I went heads up with a couple of times. He out kicked me once with a A-Q when I held A-J. I seemed to get A-J a lot! I really got not so good hands. I got a flurry of pocket 4s and 5s. When I dropped pocket 6s on a preflop raise and re-raise.... you guessed it, a 6 fell on the flop and two pairs (Aces & Kings) won the pot.

On the button, I had J-7 suited and flopped top 2 pair. I kept raising until the river and won a medium size pot. The other big pot I won was on a Q-8. I flopped a full house and slow played it.

Speaking of slow playing, there was one old lady who did not raise any pots pre-flop. She hid her pocket Kings twice and she had A-K three times (in the first 2.5 hours I played at her table). I lost one pot to her, but Derek took a nice one against her.

By the end of the fourth hour, midway through my session, I had broken even after I won pots with A-J and A-Q off suited.

Then the last half of the session, I played like shit. I got no cards and slowly lost my stack. I walked into blindly losing a huge pot. I had K-10 and flopped two pair. I dismissed a possible straight from a guy and made him for a high pair. I thought wrong. And I made a bad play and made sure that didn't happen the rest of the night. I lost big pots on A-2 (again flopped two pair). By the end of the seventh hour of my eight hour session, I was tired and not pleased with my hands. As always, I lost too much because I played too many hands. I managed to hit a big pot with a K-Q suited and I won some of the money back I lost to the guy who beat me on the straight. I loooked and saw I was only down $50. It was almost 2 am, so I decided to call it a night. I won $5 on Saturday, and lost $50 on Sunday for a total loss of $45 through two playing sessions, or 18 hours worth of poker in Las Vegas.

I played with a couple of women throughout the night. I also played against a couple of cowboys in town for the Rodeo stuff. They were drunk and playing a lot of hands.

Monday... tourney at the Luxor and more poker at the Excalibur and possibly the Mirage. Stay tuned.

A Las Vegas Blog

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Derek's Big Pot

He raised pre-flop and a few people called. Three diamonds fell on the river (Q high). Three poeple stayed in afte rmy brother's raise. Another Q fell on the turn. He was heads up with a girl sitting next to him from Hawaii. She called his raise. On the river a fourth diamond fell. I was wondering who held the Ace of diamonds. I figured they were ace and king going back and forth. Derek bet, Hawaii girl raised. Derek re-raised she called. She pulled up pocket Kings!! The table was shocked because everyone made her for a flush. Derek sighed and turne dover his pocket Aces!! Oooohs and Ahhhhs made it's way around the table. It was a huge pot, and a classic matchup of A-A vs. K-K. (And yes, I was pissed because I mucked a Jack of Diamonds.)

Derek chatted with the Hawaii girl. She just moved to Las Vegas and learned hold'em from watching the WSoP on ESPN. Derek was giving her some tips, like... you can't bluff in low limit, because everyone will call. I wondered how many others in the poker room rushed to play due to the extensive replays on ESPN and ESPN2.

A Las Vegas Blog
Vegas Thoughts...

Thought I'd share some random thoughts with you, while I rest up before dinner and a session of poker tonight.

Am I a Cheater?

Here's the situation. Derek was second to act. He had a good hand and raised pre-flop. I had nothing, probbaly 2-7. I called, as did seven others. Nine of us in the pot. The flop: Ks-Qd-6c. Derek raised and everyone in front of me called. I made him for K-Q or possibly A-K. So I re-raised with 2-7! Now... I'm sure it was immoral to do what I did. But just like Canada Bill Jones said, "It's immoral to let a sucker keep his money." I re-raised. I knew two things would happen. Sketchy hands would fold, and decent hands would call the raise, building a bigger pot for Derek. Four folds and three calls. On the turn a 8h fell. Derek bet and everyone in front of me folded. It was just me and my brother heads up, so I folded. He won a fairly sized pot. I'm sure I'll get some shit for colluding with my brother. But honestly, I never went into the game thinking I could cheat with my brother. I mean, he just started out playing. But when I saw an opportunity to scare off some folks (who would have stayed out to the river and possibly caught a card to knock out my brother, which had been happening all night, those damn drunks!), so I took the chance to protect my younger brother. Would you do the same? That was the only time it happened all night, and I'm sure it happened to me once or twice at Foxwoods from the regulars.


I forgot about my two biggest expenses in Las Vegas: tipping and water. A decade a ago, I would have told you all of my money (non-gambling money) went to strip clubs and bar tabs. Alas, in my early thirties, I have mellowed out. I save my dollar bills to tip the cocktail waitresses in the poker room. I never drink when I play poker... just water and ginger ale (soothes upset stomachs). Seriously, I'll have a few drinks then drive afterwards. But I'll never drink and play cards. Go figure. I take cabs to a lot of places, and you have to tip the drivers. They're not used to good tips, which I guaged from their reactions to my generous tips. I guess since I live in NYC, I'm used to taking cabs and tipping. Plus, you have to tip the dealers every time you win a pot. Tipping adds up after a while.


I saw Senor's favorite dealer. I won't reveal his name, but I'll call him Frosty. Senor thought he was a "Nazi" when we played during March Madness. He yelled at some kids at our table for using the F-word. He was actually very cool this time. Since I had Seat 1, I chatted with the dealers most of the night. I won a couple of nice pots when Frosty dealed. And of course, when you win a pot, you tip. If it's a small pot, I throw fifty cents their way. If it's a good size pot, I tip $1. On huge pots over $50, I tip $2. Everytime I tipped Frosty, he said, "I thank you and the kids thank you."

I saw my favorite dealer... Del. He's awesome. He's been dealing for decades and has some of the wildest stories to tell. Actually, I recognized plenty of dealers from my previous visits this year (March, April, July & Dec). I met a dealer who used to deal at Foxwoods. He had a wicked New Englnad accent and I made a bunch of local Foxwoods jokes.

Casino Games vs. Online Play

There are some major differences. The human element is the most important one. Dealers deal thousands of hands a day. There are plenty of mistakes and misdeals. It happens, and it's part of the game. You don't have a computer dealing your hands. And sometimes you just don't gel with the vibe of the dealer. There were a few that I couldn't wait to get bumped to another table. And there were times I wanted my favorite dealers to stay, but they had to move to another game or take a break. Another thing I see frequently is people acting out of turn; betting or folding before the action gets to them. I noticed a slew of online players hitting the casinos for the first time, and they had problems adjusting to live games. Chip placement was a good example. They did not know where to put them at first. Online players are not used to handling chips, so you can guage their hands based on how they reach for their chips. It’s a old school tell, that I picked up quickly.

NFL Games

Man I just got my ass handed to me. We went to the Mandalay Bay to watch the games. The Sports Book displayed all nine early games!! It was cool. I got to watch my NY Jets (it's snowing again in NYC) and all the games that I bet on. Fuck the damn St. Louis Rams. They cost me a huge parlay bet. I picked 4 teams and if all of them won (New England, Iggy's Bengals, and Kansas City -- all won and covered the point spread), I would have netted 11 times my original bet if allf our teams won. It all came down to the Rams. They were up 21-12 at halftime and did not cover in a 27-22 win. I was wicked pissed. My brother needed them to cover his parlay as well. I'm going to stick with poker. Although I put a c-note on Philly against Miami on Monday Night Football.

Luxor Tournament

A limit hold'em freeze-out tourney with a $25 buy-in starts at Noon on Mondays. I stopped by the Luxor and chatted with Eddie the manager of the poker room. He told me the entires were limited to 30 seats and they sell out quickly. We have to get there at 9 am to sign up if we want to play, which we will! More details to come.

A Las Vegas Blog
Vegas Poker Play... Day 1

Day 1 (Saturday): + $5 (10 hours)

On Saturday, Derek and I wandered down to the poker room at the Excalibur to play some hold'em. Derek has never played in a casino before, so he was a little nervous. In the last 2 months, the Excalibur added a $1-3 hold'em game (in addition to their normal $2-6). We both got seated at the same $1-3 table, which was perfect place for Derek to learn to play in casino. He's been reading some of the books I gave him and was eager to play for real.

I had Seat 1. Derek had Seat 6. When we first sat down, in Seat 2 was a "drunk guy" from Detroit. Seat 3 was a guy from Boston, who I called "Nomah" all night. They were important as I'll expand later.

Derek was UTG on the first hand, and he held A-J suited. I suggested that he muck a lot of hands for the first hour to get a feel for the game. Anyway, he played his very first hand in a casino. He ended up flopping the nut flush. He didn't win a huge hand, but it was about $15. Then three hands later he made his first rookie mistake. He held top two pair. He didn't see the guy next to him call his bet, so he thought he folded. My brother threw his cards at the dealer, and the dealer pushed the pot to the guy to his right. My brother was confused and he forgot one of the first things I told him... Don't give the dealer your hand until you have the pot pushed to you. It was a nice size pot ($30) and that rattled him for the first hour. Overall, he played very well for his first time in a live casino game. He only lost $50 in 10 hours, which I told him was very good.

Over the first half hour, I was down $40. I held A-K and lost a big pot. Then a few hands later, I got another A-K suited and won a smaller pot. The very next hand, I caught pocket aces!! I raised and a few people called me. I ended up winning a big pot and started my run!! Two hands later, I got Q-Q, flopped a Q and lost to a flush on the river. Later on, when I was the blind, I got my second A-A. I raised and everyone folded. I won on A-A twice... they held up! When I got pocket 9-9, I raised pre-flop and got seven callers. I ended up winning a $60 pot on a full house 9 over 10s. A few hands later, I played K-10 on the button, and won a nice size pot with Kings up. I looked at the time... ninety minutes in. Derek was down $35 and I was up $60.

By the second hour was completed, I won a straight with a J-10 suited and I was up $80.

By the third hour, I got my third pocket aces, which held up!! And I won a nice size pot. A few hands later, I got a A-K suited and lost to pocket 10s. I was up $75 at that point.

In Seat 4, there was an old lady, a local. She had a Frosty the Snowman pin on her jacket. She flopped 4 aces!! She held pocket aces and the flop was: A-A-Q. Another Q fell on the turn and a King fell on the river. There was alot of action from the guy next to me.... drunk guy from Detroit. He was calling a lot of pots all night. They went back and forth with re-raises. In the end they turned over their cards. He had a full house K over Aces. But the old lady had four aces!!! I asked her if she had ever gotten that before (I assumed she'd been playing longer than I have been alive!)... alas, that was her first four Aces!

By the fourth hour, I won a huge pot playing 9-10 suited. I was up $100 at that point. Then I had the bad beat of the night. I flopped a nut flush with A-K!! And of course, the drunk guy from Detroit (he was the blind and played 3-5) called me all the way down to the river, and he caught a full fucking house!! I was pissed off for sure. I looked at my chips and he took two stacks from me. I wa snow only up $60.

By the fifth hour, I won a lot of small pots. I was jamming the pot and re-rasiing anyone who raised pre-flop. I won the biggest pots of the night on J-10 and another 9-10. And I lost my biggest pots on A-K. I lost a nice size hand to one of the locals. He had K-K and I got my fourth pocket aces! Of course he flopped a King and I lost. Man, oh man!!

Anyway, by the mid-point of my session, I was up $120. I stack my $1 chips in a series of 20. I had 11 stacks and I looked around at the table. I held the most chips, and I realized that I was the best player at the table for the first part of the session. I was thrilled with my play, and staisfied with Derek's play.

It was all downhill from there!!! I won't blog the sordid deatils of my demise. I ended up with cold cards the rest of the night and lost a lot of pots to drunks who pulled shit out of their asses on the river. One kid was so drunk, he almost spilled his beer. He had no clue what was going on. I was calling him every time. I won a few pots, but lost a big one when he held 5-5 and there was a 5 on the board, with a pair of 8s. Anyway, I lost $140 in the next four hours, and won a few pots in the last half hour to pull even, and I realized I was up $5!

OK, I have to run, we're running late this morning, so I have to end this blog... I'll finish it up later!!! Going to the Mandalay Bay to gamble on today's pro football games. Will return to the poker room later tonight. Tomorrow, I hope to play in a limit hold'em tourney at the Luxor.

Let me apologize for the bad grammar and the spelling mistakes, I'm typing and writing as fast as I can... to update everyone. When I have time, I'll fix it up. Anyway... I'll be back!!!

A Las Vegas Blog
Flight to Vegas!!

I prefer flying Jetblue to Las Vegas because they have Direct TV service for the duration of the 5 plus hour long flight. I got lucky. On channel 23, they aired music concerts. I think they were trying to sell the DVD versions of the concerts by airing the actual concerts! I saw three... U2 from Ireland, Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden in NYC (from this July), and the Allman Brothers Band Live at the Beacon Theatre.

Rodeo Pauly?

Yeah, Derek and I walked into one helluva situation in Vegas. I had no clue that we were visitng Vegas at the peak of Rodeo Week!! Our cab driver aske dus if we were in town for the Rodeo! I laughed. Then when I got to the Excalibur, I noticed hundreds and thousands of guys and gals wearing cowboys hats, boots, and those shiny buckles! The National Rodeo Finals were being held the past week, and we showed up at one intresting time!

A Las Vegas Blog

Friday, December 12, 2003

Super System...

I re-read the Limit Hold'em section of Super System on the subway yesterday. Here are a couple of quotes that I thought were blogworthy.

"Lack of patience and self-discipline are the downfall of many players who are otherwise technically sound enough to be winners."

"A-X (any card) suited is, I believe, one of the most overrated Hold'em hands. It's a hand that you want to play for as little as possible before the Flop..."

Locals vs. Tourists

I'm leaving for Vegas soon! I figure I'd blog an interesting read called: Locals vs. Tourists written by Linda R. Geenen

Here's a bit: "You've entered the game at half time or maybe it's the 3rd day or whenever you found the time to get there and get seated. The locals are grim, holding their position, after all...they're defending home turf. The tourists are jovial and reckless, throwing their chips into the pots, laughing as they pull back more and stack and stack and stack. The locals are losing... they have no cheering section and each time they lose a pot, they make comments about the tourists. They're so nasty, a referee might throw a flag on them ... but there are no referees in this battle."

Anyway, my plan is to try to take some money off of other lesser skilled tourists! And avoid heads up play with the locals. It will be nice playing in some games with more tourists. At Foxwoods, usually I'm sitting at a table with 75 to 80% local players.
Belle de Jour

Warning! The following site has NO POKER CONTENT, but if you have enough money, you can "poke her" if you like. OK, I'll stop with the bad jokes.

Check out: Belle de Jour... the diary of a London call girl.

My lady friend, Haley, recently admitted to me that she reads the call girl blog First! Before she reads any of my multiple sites. My buddy Jerry is also hooked on Belle de Jour. Indeed, all my friends have been buzzing about her site for the past week or so. Take a peek!

Here's some answers to her most FAQs: "Yes, I really am a call girl. A bored journalist could probably fake this blog but I'm not that clever. I wouldn't say no to a 'real' writing career but lack the necessary perseverance... At university, I studied a wholly academic humanities subject useless to the world at large. Given the choice of prostitution, temping or copywriting - the occupations in London which seem to be constantly hiring - I opted for this. Eventually. Yes, I am aware that such a career move probably indicates a lack of ingenuity or motivation on my part."

You gotta love Belle. We have to get her to start playing pot-limit "Strip" Hold'em.